For the Love of Movies That Never Played at the Mall…

In my experience of discussing movies online, few people have challenged me to dig deeper and look closer at movies than Ken Morefield.That's why I'm enthusiastic about having his as a "guest reviewer" so often at Looking Closer.So I am delighted to discover that... … [Read more...]

More 2007 Lists Worth Noting

My Netflix queue just went into cardiac arrest as I read about all kinds of new movies on the 2007-Best lists from Doug Cummings and Robert Koehler. What would I do without tour guides like them?Nate Bell separates wheat from chaff.Brandon Fibbs is impressed with many, but only one "gobsmacked" him.David Hudson still has the greatest film-lover's blog on the web, and his own list is as interesting as any I've read. (I can't wait to get into a theater to see his #1 … [Read more...]

Specials: Harry Potter; Mother Teresa; Wilson on Atheism Books; Cummings on Satyajit Ray

I'm a week late to this blog entry, but wow... Andy Whitman writes about music better than just about anybody I know. And now he's posted a home-run entry about Harry Potter.-Yesterday I posted news about the new book on Mother Teresa. Here's more on Mother Teresa's dark night of the soul, from Amy Wellborn.-Here's a list you haven't seen before: John Wilson, the voracious reader who edits Books and Culture, rates his top five books on atheism. Know before you … [Read more...]

A Brief Lesson in Looking Closer: From the Dardennes Brothers and Doug Cummings

The Dardennes brothers have made some of my favorite films of the past decade -- L'Enfant, The Son, and Rosetta -- and now they have a new three-minute short.Thanks so much to Doug Cummings for the link. And then for thinking it through with us. Folks, watch the video¬†(with the volume turned up) before you read the commentary.Teachers, you could inspire your students by showing this and challenging them with questions about it. Something as simple as this exercise could open up a whole n … [Read more...]

Specials: Doug Cummings on “Silence”; Also: “Rescue Dawn”; and Peter Sellers

Here's Doug Cummings' new Masters of Cinema essay on Masahiro Shinoda's film Silence, which is based on Shusaku Endo's extraordinary novel. As you probably know, Martin Scorsese's next film is his own adaptation of the same source material. I urge you to read the novel before you see the film's. It's unforgettable.Here's J. Robert Parks on Rescue Dawn: ( ¬†And oh, here's Nate Bell on the same film.And finally, via Mark Shea, a YouTube clip of Peter Se … [Read more...]

Doug Cummings on “Sunshine”

Doug Cummings turned in his last batch of reviews from the Los Angeles Film Festival today, and they include his response to Danny Boyle's sci-fi thriller Sunshine.I've heard from one of you that Danny Boyle's Sunshine is the best film you've seen this year.Cummings disagrees. I couldn't have been more disappointed by the film, which I found to be tedious, empty, and a complete waste of time. Sure, it's got elaborate digital effects, great set design, and a thundering soundtrack, but … [Read more...]

Doug Cummings on the Los Angeles Film Festival

At, Doug Cummings is blogging about his discoveries at the Los Angeles Film Festival. And, as usual, his assessment of several films from around the world is fascinating.As usual, Doug's enthusiasm is contagious. I'm grateful for it. It'll help me prioritize what to see when I actually have time and opporutnity to see a movie (if any of those films are ever actually accessible to folks who don't go to film festivals).[The rest of the original post basically amounted to a … [Read more...]

Doug and the Dardennes

I imagine that for Doug Cummings meeting the Dardennes was as thrilling as it would have been for me to interview Krzysztof Kieslowksi.The interview that resulted is in the new issue of Paste, which I believe is read by more and more cinephiles all the time. So hurry out and buy a copy (even if you do read the article on his site.)And when it reaches your town's theaters, go see the Dardennes' latest masterpiece (that's three, arguably four, in a row!): L'Enfant. … [Read more...]

Doug Cummings on "Howl’s Moving Castle"

from filmjourney... I find the mystery in Miyazaki's films to be one of their greatest pleasures, expanding their worlds with each viewer's imagination. When I was a kid, I loved to scratch my head. Not that Miyazaki crafts puzzling films; his cinema is highly accessible and entertaining at any age, yet he's a filmmaker who also appreciates how a few unanswered questions in the right places can enrich a fantasy story. … [Read more...]

Doug Cummings on Jean Renoir’s "The River"

Peter Greenaway once said that cinema as an "art form" has yet to be established.He meant that, so far, movies aren't much more than illustrated narratives: books with moving pictures to bring the manuscripts to life.That comment has stuck with me, as I've begun to appreciate, more and more, how film can communicate through methods other than storytelling. Like the animals who respond to the beauty of the music in The Story of the Weeping Camel, I think human beings respond to imagery, … [Read more...]